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USDA Food Pyramid

In the mid-20th century, the American food supply was undergoing a rapid transformation. As the newly minted food-industrial complex rocked the nutritional landscape, the government recognized a need to provide guidance--not just to promote public health, but to ensure national security and economic stability during wartime.

Cue the American nutrition wars.

Each iteration of the USDA’s dietary guidelines – from the earliest recommendations in the 1910s, to the introduction of the food pyramid in 1990s, to the more recent MyPlate – has sparked controversy and calls for reform. If there’s one thing that every nutrition tribe seems to agree on, it’s that something is wrong with the government’s grasp on diet.

Food Pyramid InfographicTo be sure, some of the recommendations from days of yore seem hilarious, and occasionally, even dangerous. For instance, “butter and fortified margarine” were listed as a food group of their own in the 1940’s “Basic Seven Guide to Good Eating.” People still battle over butter, but there’s no debate that the trans fats in margarine are harmful for health. 

Thankfully, margarine has dropped off the map, and the government eventually began to include cautionary notes on sugar and alcohol consumption as well, and to try to better communicate the importance of appropriate portion sizes for all types of foods.

Ultimately, the strangest thing about the government’s dietary recommendations isn’t some ridiculous bit of advice from decades past, it’s that the recommendations have stayed remarkably similar throughout the years.

To date, every single one of the recommendations have included dairy as a daily necessity, despite the fact that a significant portion of the population is lactose intolerant. Until 2011, every government guide built its recommendations off a foundation of bread and cereal (MyPlate allots for a slightly higher ratio of vegetables to grains). I’m not a registered dietitian, but I can’t imagine anyone other than Michael Phelps could thrive while eating eleven servings of cereal a day – a healthy ceiling suggested by the Food Pyramid:

In some cases, pressure from powerful voices within the food industry has successfully pushed to keep the status quo in place. In other cases, infighting and gridlock within nutrition science – fueled by poorly designed studies and sensationalized media coverage – have cast doubt on the relative benefits of one diet over another and made updating the guidelines politically dangerous.

The entire process of creating the guidelines is confusing, complex, and controversial – from the selection of committee members to the process of reviewing evidence. It shows. The 2015 USDA guidelines, for example, famously included a whopping 144 pages of explanation and justification for its conclusions, which many thought were riddled with inconsistencies and biases.

USDA PosterWhile the intentions may be good – who doesn’t want better public health education? – government guidelines rarely seem to result in more clarity for consumers.

Perhaps it’s time to separate politics from the plate and get back to basics.

At The Good Kitchen, we believe diets should be built on sound science, common sense, and respect for the planet. We believe that industry profits and politics shouldn’t determine public health decisions. Plus, we recognize that efforts to support nutritional education can only go so far if healthy food isn’t available or affordable.

Because we know the struggle, we’re committed to making it simple for everyone to eat good food and support the small farmers that make it possible.

We use responsibly sourced ingredients to craft meals that satisfy your nutritional needs and your schedule with convenient, heat-and-eat dishes delivered to your doorstep.

You don’t need to wait on any government agency – you have power over your own plate. And we want everyone to use that power for good (food).

USDA Food PyramidIf you want to see what we can do for you and your diet, head over to our meals page to see what we’re cooking up for you this week!


Food pyramid image from, Basic seven from

Comments | Posted in Nutrition By Carter Lewis

Sugar and Mental Health

Try watching any romantic comedy without coming across this scene:

The camera pans to the protagonist in sweatpants, weeping into a pint of ice cream, flanked on either side by sleeves of Oreos. The theater audience knows this is their cue to shake their heads and chuckle empathetically. Even if you’ve never personally turned to cupcakes as a coping mechanism, it’s generally accepted that sadness can make you crave sweets.

Research suggests that this might be a totally backwards way to look at the relationship between sugar and mental health.

In the first long-term study of its kind, researchers from University College London Institute of Epidemiology and Public Health found that high sugar consumption increased the likelihood of developing anxiety, depression, and other common mental health problems in men by a hefty 23 percent after five years.

You read that right – after five years. We’re not talking about an energy dip or some short-term guilt and negativity.

There’s still plenty we don’t know about the direct mechanism that links sugar intake and mental health. But it seems likely that a spoonful of sugar makes the mood go down, in a pretty distressing way.

To start unpacking at least one part of the mystery, researchers set out to solve the chicken or egg problem: That is, were the subjects eating more sugar to cope with poor mental health, or was their sugar intake actually contributing to a future decline in mental health?

After combing data spanning more than two decades, researchers found that the long term negative effects were unrelated to the subject’s mental health at the beginning of the study. Even after controlling for sociodemographic factors, other dietary factors, and the presence of other health problems, the findings held true. Sugar consumption continued to show a link to future mental health problems.  

Right now, it’s en vogue to talk about longevity science and nutrition in terms of physical performance. Who doesn’t want to be climbing mountains and blazing new bike trails well into old age? But if your mental health is subpar, it’s less likely that you’ll make it out the door at all, much less achieve any physical feats.

After all, major depression is predicted to become the leading cause of disability in high income countries by 2030.

But we don’t need to give up, curse our collective fate, and grab a piece of cake. We can take action to pre-empt this prediction. At The Good Kitchen, we’ve got your back when it comes to designing a diet that supports long term, well-rounded health for your body and your mind.

By tossing added sugars aside and leaning into satisfying, flavorful, healthful meals, we’re doing our part to help you sidestep diet-related depression without settling for deprivation.

Check out our latest meals to see how good long-term health looks!

Photo by Glen Carrie on Unsplash

Comments | Posted in Nutrition By Carter Lewis

Spring Menu

The heavy blanket of winter is finally lifting. You can feel it the second you step out the door: the air seems lighter – fresher somehow – and charged with energy. New crops are flooding fields and filling our chefs up with culinary creativity.

Trust us – there’s no way we would let any of that inspiration go to waste.

Use code 'SpringMenu2019' to receive 15% off your next order! [GET STARTED]

We’ve harnessed all of this energy to craft our new spring menu, which embodies our belief that “fresh” and “filling” can and should coexist. By combining bright herbs, responsibly sourced proteins, and flavors inspired by local traditions from around the world, we think you’ll find everything you’re looking for in this lineup, all without having to stress over meal planning or deal with the hassle of grocery runs and dirty kitchens.

In line with our deep commitment to optimal nutrition, sustainability, and a just food system, each meal is designed to support your health and the health of the soil, animals, and farm communities that make it all possible.  

You can check out a few of our chef’s favorite dishes below, or [CLICK HERE] to see what's on this week's menu!

Traditional Chicken Salad

This paleo and keto-friendly dish is a masterpiece of fresh flavors and complementary textures. We pair organic, free-range chicken with crunchy walnuts for maximum brain function; creamy, zesty sauce for staying power; and a kick of natural, Granny Smith sweetness just because it’s delicious. You’re welcome for the not-sad desk lunch.

Roasted Salmon with Spring Vegetable Medley

We make use of spring’s bounty in this fresh, energizing meal, bringing you Seafood Watch-approved salmon from the crystal waters of Chile and vitamin-loaded veggies from our favorite farmers back stateside – all carefully prepared to highlight the full flavor of nature’s handiwork.

Thai Pork Bowl

We really depleted the herb garden for this one, complementing the enticing umami of pork and shitake mushrooms with a fresh touch of mint, basil, ginger, and garlic, adding just enough jalapeño to the mix to light up your tastebuds.

Barbacoa with Rice and Black Beans

Perfect for a post-workout meal, our unbelievably tender beef barbacoa is a protein-packed homage to Caribbean beach barbecues. We don’t take any shortcuts, letting the beef cook for a full 10 hours before serving it up with a side of rice and beans that get an extra kick from salsa verde, peppers, cumin, and chili powder.

See all the springtime options on tap THIS WEEK, and start planning how you’ll spend your new free time!

Use code 'SpringMenu2019' to receive 15% off your next order! 

Comments | Posted in Nutrition By Carter Lewis

Thanksgiving The Good Kitchen

This time of year reminds us how much we have to be grateful for - those big, bold happenings in our lives and then those seemingly small, sweet moments we cherish forever.

What’s awesome is that we get the best of both of those worlds on Thanksgiving. Which is why it really is a special time to gather and connect with family and friends. And share a meal while we're at it.

We’re sharing a couple of the TGK family’s favorite Thanksgiving recipes if you wish to prepare a meal or side dishes with good, clean, whole ingredients.

We believe in nothing but the best for a special meal like this. Gather, feast, and enjoy.


Paleo Dressing



  • ¾ cup Onion (Small Diced)
  • ¾ Carrot (Small Diced)
  • ¾ Celery (Small Diced)
  • ½ cup Walnuts(Chopped)
  • ½ cup Dried Cranberries
  • 3 tbsp Butter
  • 3 tbsp Rosemary (Chopped)
  • 1 tbsp Garlic (Chopped)
  • ½ cup Chicken Stock
  • 2 Gluten Free Bread (Recipe Follows)

Gluten Free Bread:

  • 1 cup Almond Flour
  • ½ cup Butter
  • ½ cup Egg
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 2 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar


  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Mix almond flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl.
  3. Melt butter and mix with apple cider vinegar and egg.
  4. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix until consistent.
  5. Pour mixture into a loaf pan and bake at 350 for 30 to 45 minutes.


  1. Heat a saute pan on medium high heat. Melt butter and add carrot, celery and onion. Sweat until slightly soft and aromatic. About five minutes.
  2. Add garlic and continue to cook for another minute.
  3. Crumble bread into a mixing bowl. Add vegetable mixture and remaining ingredients then fold together.
  4. Place mixture in a casserole dish and bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

Green Bean Casserole



  • 2 cups Green Beans
  • 1 cup White Mushrooms (Sliced)
  • ½ cup Onion (Small Diced)
  • 1 tbsp Garlic (Minced)
  • 3 tbsp Butter
  • 2 cups Cashew Cream (Recipe follows)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

For the Cashew Cream:

  1. Soak ½ cup cashews in 1 cup of water and place in refrigerator. For best results soak overnight or 4 hours minimum.
  2. Blend on high until smooth.

For the Casserole:

  1. Blanch green beans in boiling water for 30 seconds. Drain and reserve.
  2. Melt butter in a saute pan on medium high heat. Add onion and mushroom and saute until soft. About 5 minutes.
  3. Add garlic and continue to cook for another minute.
  4. Preheat oven to 350. Fold in green beans and cashew cream to mushroom and onion mixture. Pour into an oven safe casserole dish and bake for 30 min at 350.

Comments | Posted in Nutrition Recipes By Carter Lewis

Wholesome Diets


SPECIAL NOTE: As always, please consult with a medical professional before taking on a diet or food choice; we aren’t medical professionals here, just real people who enjoy real food.  


The world has been talking about food choices forever. The funny thing though, is that we don’t necessarily use those words - "food choices." We use words like diet or dietary restrictions; it’s been about what can we deprive ourselves of.

Truth: Your body wants you to fuel it - not deprive it.  

There are three current food choice trends that take us back to the old school - what this Earth is full of - whole, rich, earthly foods.

Paleo, Keto, and The Autoimmune Protocol Diet are three current food trends that lean into the power of whole foods to make your body a full-functioning machine again.

Here’s what’s cool - all these approaches stick to using whole foods; they’re each just different methods. If you’re interested in a high level, introductory, crash course in all three, well, we’ve got your back. Keep reading.  



Korean Beef BowlPaleo springs from the idea suggest that you should be eating foods that a people could only get by hunting and gathering in the paleolithic age. According to Paleo expert Robb Wolf, anthropologist and medical explorers adapted this way of eating because they realized that hunter-gatherer groups were largely free of modern degenerative diseases.

So why not try out what worked for people way back in the day?

What To Eat:
When on the Paleo diet you want to stick to foods that could only be hunted and gathered like:  

  • Veggies
  • Meat that is grass-fed and pasture raised
  • Healthy oils
  • Nuts/ seeds including almonds, walnuts, and pecans  
  • Fruits including all berries, apples, peaches 

What To Exclude:
You couldn’t hunt and gather processed foods, right? On Paleo, we are staying away from foods that were very hard to find and that you have to process excludes foods such as:

  • Legumes
  • Dairy
  • Refined Sugars
  • Refined Vegetable Oils
  • Processed Food
  • Junk Food (candy, doughnuts, etc)
  • White Potatoes
  • Cereal Grains
  • Sugar Drinks/Caffeinated Drinks 

The Paleo diet has many benefits - but, it also may not be for everyone because of the emphasis on protein. If you are vegan or vegetarian, this diet may not be for you as the Paleo diet focuses on eating meats, and it restricts some nutrient dense foods. Now - here’s a new one - there IS such thing as being a pegan. This approach combines paleo with vegan, but focuses more on vegetables and healthy fats, treating meat as more of a condiment than a main course. Like anything, you may tweek the restrictions a little, but you may not get the full benefits of the diet.  


 Interested? Keeping reading on more approaches, info, and recipes:



Curry Chicken SaladThe Ketogenic diet is for all you math majors out there. Keto is built in calorie percentages.

Here’s the dish - literally: 70% healthy fats, 20% protein, 5% carbohydrates, and 5% vegetables.

Now, here’s the science, for all you science majors out there: the theory is that this unique combination of healthy fats, protein, and little carbohydrate turns your body into a ketosis state. In that state, the body uses ketones as its primary fuel. Ketones are the byproduct of burning fats. The reason high fat is so important on this diet is because healthy fat does not spike insulin. Pounding carbs and excess protein are two ways to spike insulin. Insulin makes your body use glucose for fuel and prevents fat burning. Sometimes it can be hard to get your body into ketosis, which is why many people see additional benefits of doing a water fast or intermittent fasting to kickstart ketosis.  


What To Eat:

  • All healthy fats such as olive oil, avocado, coconut oil, grass-fed butter, palm oil, and some nuts and seeds, etc.
  • Non-starchy vegetables such as asparagus, leafy greens, cucumbers, zucchini, etc.
  • Proteins that are low in carbs such as grass-fed meat, pasture-raised poultry, cage-free eggs, bone broth, wild-caught fish, organ meats and some full-fat (ideally raw) dairy products, etc.
  • Low- to zero-carb booze, depending on your desired outcome.

What To Exclude:

  • Sugar - this includes raw honey and raw maple syrups
  • All grains - this includes oats, rice, quinoa, pasta, and corn
  • Processed foods (insert dramatic music here) - that means no chips, protein bars, canned foods, anything processed is a no-no
  • Any sweetened or calorie filled beverages are a big no- soda, sweetened milk, etc.  
  • Limit foods such as full-fat dairy, medium starchy veggies, legumes and beans, and nut and seeds

Because this approach is so biological, the Keto diet can be very different for men and women. It works for both, but each gender will have to approach it differently. Women may have a harder time, but there are adjustments that can be made.

 As well, there are potential side effects in the beginning that may include (and are not limited to):

  • Headaches
  • "Keto flu"
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle weakness
  • Brain fog
  • Nausea, constipation, upset stomach

Special note: There are many ways to overcome these side effects, so you’re not up a creek without a paddle.   


Interested? There’s lots of information out there, but here’s some more detailed approaches, recipes, and info that we appreciated:



Shrimp ScampiPrepare yourself - the Autoimmune protocol/diet (AIP) is the strictest of these three choices.

It’s all for good cause though; this diet’s main purpose is to reduce inflammation and relieve the body of any autoimmune disease symptoms. AIP focuses on eliminating foods that are harmful to the gut and eating nutrient-dense foods. “Leaky gut” is a phrase used to describe small holes in the gut cause food to leak into the body. This makes the immune system overreact and start attacking bodily tissues which then disrupts normal function. “Leaky gut” is believed to be the cause of autoimmune diseases and AIP helps reset the immune system, prevent autoimmune response, reduce symptoms, and prevent secondary autoimmune diseases. Researchers and medical professionals consider this a much more strict version of the Paleo Diet.


What To Eat:

  • All grass-fed and pastured meats and fish
  • Non- nightshade vegetables
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Coconut product (best raw)
  • Fruit (small quantities)
  • Olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil
  • Non-dairy fermented foods
  • Herbs
  • Bone broth
  • Vinegar
  • Green tea
  • Honey or maple syrup (small quantities)

What Not To Eat:

  • Any grains (oats, rice, wheat)
  • Nightshade vegetables such as eggplant, tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, okra, etc.
  • Eggs
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Chocolate
  • Coffee
  • Dried fruits
  • Legumes such as peanuts, beans, lentils
  • Butter and ghee
  • Alcohol
  • All oils except ones above
  • Alternative sweeteners such as stevia and xylitol

This diet is designed to help you figure out what your body doesn’t process well so you can eliminate those foods. AIP has a phase-like approach so you can reintroduce some foods along the way if your body can handle them. It shouldn’t be treated as a cure though; it is only meant to identify your respective triggers. Some downfalls of this diet are that it is very strict, time consuming, and can be hard to follow.


Interested? Here’s more information, approaches, and recipes:


Each one of these choices (I’ll just say it - diets) has amazing benefits, and I’m sure you are wondering which one is right for you. Take a look at your health concerns, daily lifestyle, and exercise habits and goals to determine which diet might work best for you. Ask yourself whether you're looking for fat loss, to maintain weight, gain muscle, or you just want to live healthier?

Playing around with what works best for you can be hard. What’s awesome about each of these approaches is that eventually your body will tell you what’s working and what isn’t. Listen to that. Because this isn’t just about a diet - this is a lifestyle change to support the whole you.


Comments | Posted in Nutrition By Kassie McRostie

Today, I’m going talk a little bit about some of my favorite items to use in the kitchen. These are non-negotiables for me. These are things I use pretty much every time I’m in the kitchen. There are five “kitchen essentials” I’m going to talk about in detail in this article, and they’ll be easy for you to find if you want to outfit your own kitchen.

Watch the video to see all the kitchen essentials I’m talking about:



First, let’s talk about pots and pans. Two I really like to have available in the kitchen are my Le Creuset and a cast iron skillet.

The size of the Le Crueuset is really important. I like to have a big pan. It’s great for sauteing. It’s great for searing and then being able to finish in the oven. It’s just a really versatile pan, and I use this pan probably every single time I cook.

The Le Creuset is very heavy and has a ceramic coating, so it’s a nice nonstick. But the ceramic coating is great because you don’t have that chemical nonstick coating so many other pans have. Another great thing about these is that you don’t have to heat them on high. It actually can hurt the pan and you can get burnt places on the bottom if you heat it too high. So it’s a nice pan to have on low to medium heat and allow it time to heat up so you can sear.

Cast IronAnother pan I love to have in the kitchen is the cast-iron skillet. I have a couple of different versions of these. You can buy these in different shapes and sizes, and they’ve got some nice flat ones now, too. They even have grill pans, so you can mimic the grill marks on a piece of protein even if you don’t have access to a grill. You can cure these in the oven with lard or coconut oil on your lowest setting and they become nice and nonstick.

Even when they are cured, though, if you heat them up too hot, you’re going to have the same issue you have with the Le Creuset ceramic coating in that you can cause a burned spot. I remember my grandmother had these, and I really would like to have her cast-iron skillets because I imagine they are cured very nicely with some lard.


Instant PotThe next thing is an Instant Pot. I was a late bloomer in getting an Instant Pot. I thought, “I’ve got my Crock-Pot. I don’t really want to pressure cook anything. No big deal.” Then, I found the Instant Pot on Amazon on sale, so it was low barrier to entry for me and I grabbed one. And I am so glad I did. I would pay full price for one now if I didn’t have it, knowing what I now know.

These things are amazing for last-minute cooking and just in general. It doesn’t matter what it is that you want to cook. They cut one-pot meals down to a quarter of the time you need for a slow cooker. You don’t have to cook things overnight and there’s tons of recipes out there. So, it’s a nice way to have a quick dinner that otherwise might take a long time to prepare.

And if you’re a rice person, the Instant Pot doubles as a rice cooker. And it even can be a slow cooker if you want to cook something low and slow.


KnivesLast but not least, one of the most important items is a good knife. And along with a good knife, I like to have a sturdy cutting board. You can see in the video that I’ve got one that sits on legs and has a nice thick base to it. There’s something about this cutting board that I absolutely love. And even when the legs get messed up, I fix them because I just adore this cutting board. It’s nice and sturdy and keeps everything level for me to cut.

I have three different styles of knives I like to use under different circumstances. I’ll tell you why I like each knife and then you can pick one based on your needs and preferences (and if you watch the video, I’ll actually show you a total of four specific knives that I like to use):

  1. The first is a santoku-style knife that was my favorite knife for a long time. I cut everything from garlic to proteins with it, and it’s a very nicely weighted knife. (While we’re talking about knives, make sure you have your knife sharpened on a regular basis because a dull knife is actually more dangerous than a sharp knife. Dull knives lead to kitchen mishaps and you can get some dents (or worse) in your fingernails).
  2. My favorite knives now are from Al Mar. My dad’s an antique pocket knife collector and he got me my Al Mar knives at a knife show. Their chef’s knife is now my favorite. It’s light and one piece, it stays super sharp, and I don’t have to sharpen these as often as I do my other knives. It’s also nice because I’m a small-statured person and I have teeny-tiny hands. Some of the chef knives (like the Shuns) are too heavy for me and my wrist gets sore if I’m chopping too much.
  3. I also have an Al Mar paring knife. You can use these if you’re cutting something small, but I don’t use little knives that much. I prefer a larger knife.

If I had to say one of these knives is my favorite, it would be the Al-Mar chef’s knife — and I adore it. I’m so glad my dad’s a pocketknife collector and I was able to get this amazing knife.

So, these are the things I use on a regular basis and if you don’t have some of these in your kitchen, I highly recommend them. If you have questions on any of these kitchen essentials (or any others you’re wondering about), feel free to post in the comments below.

Amber Lewis is the visionary behind The Good Kitchen. She founded its preceding concept, modPALEO, and grew it into a small business that supports small farms, sustainability, a community of good people, and healthy living. Her passion for food grew out of her own personal journey to wellness, where she discovered the transformative powers of eating real food. She’s a sucker for a farm visit, and loves to discover new dishes that complement her healthy and active lifestyle.

Comments | Posted in Nutrition By Amber Lewis

Water Fast


To kick this off  - a quick disclaimer. I am neither nutritionist nor a doctor. This was an experiment that my wife Amber (TGK CEO, Founder) and I took upon ourselves after reading up on water fasting. If this is something you’re interested in, consult a health professional first. Please. Also, may be a good idea to forgo operating heavy machinery or performing brain surgery during an experimental fast.

{Now back to our regularly scheduled programming...}


Like a lot of humans today, we’re busy. And, as small business owners, we’re stressed. We’re neither weird nor special - we’re just like most folks in this day and age with too much to do and not enough time. We pay less attention to ourselves and our bodies (“the cobbler’s kids always need new shoes,” the saying goes) than we should. Ironic, I/we know.

After reading “Wired to Eat” by Robb Wolf, and toying around with the idea of the ketogenic diet, Amber and I decided to try a fast. A friend of ours tried it, and he experienced some good results; then, our intrigue grew after reading up on Katie Wells’ experience. So, we decided to give it a shot. For three days. All with the idea that we’d see (err, feel) how this went, then potentially alter the fast itself (include bone broth, etc.) to our own needs or extend it, if that felt like a good idea. At the suggestion of our friend (Hi David!), we did not cut out coffee as we did not want to shock the system additionally for these few days as we’re avid coffee drinkers over here. However, we did limit to two cups per day. And one cup of herbal tea at night. Only other things that went in our bodies were a small amount of salt and water. So. Much. Water. 

Some websites suggest taking time off from work to gauge the effects of this fast. We work mostly from home, so no worries here. But, I can see how that might be helpful.

My aim here is to list our experience with the water fast. Not advise on the “how to” or the “why” – I’ll include an exhaustive list of folks who have already done us all the service of that work. That list follows at the bottom. The overview is that a water fast is a jump start on getting your body into ketosis and encouraging fat burning.


2 DAYS BEFORE / Sunday

We inched our way into this water fast. Two days prior we moved to Bulletproof coffee for breakfast, a nibble of sauerkraut and ham for lunch, and a ketogenic-style dinner. We also upped our water game and increased electrolytes.


DAY 1 / Wednesday

I woke up very early (historically, I’m not a great sleeper, but this was earlier than usual for some reason; I woke up at 2:15a, then went back to sleep for three hours around 4:30a.) During the day, I drank two cups of coffee, lots of water, enjoyed a couple pinches of salt, and 1 hot tea at night. Was gonna go for a mountain bike ride, but my serious lack of sleep suggested that may not be a good idea. Felt a little light-headed after kneeling/squatting a couple of different times through the day, but overall felt good. Thought about food more than normal. Thought I noticed a little change in body composition, but may have been my imagination and wishful thinking. More productive, but could be because I had more time since I wasn’t eating. Watched “The Office,” showered, bed early. Makes you think about how much thought and time we spend on food. With no eating, no shopping, no going out to eat, cooking or cleaning up… you save quite a bit of time. Ketone reading: 2.4mmol/L. Weighed day before at gym: 180.8 lbs.


Water + SaltAMBER
A quick intro - So, my main priority for this fast was to get my digestion back on track and end some undesirable eating/drinking habits I have acquired over the past year.

I slept in a little. Drank two cups of coffee, then made several trips to the “salt trough” throughout the day. Mornings are always fine for me without food. I am a pretty natural intermittent faster. (What that means - I’m 15-16 hours between meals typically.)  I got extremely hungry and nauseous around lunchtime. Once that passed, I felt okay the rest of the evening. We did have a non-caffeinated herbal tea around dinner. I just needed to taste something other than water. Pretty normal routine in the evening… without the food prep and eating and wine. But overall, I felt good; if anything, I felt a tad loopy. Almost like I hadn’t slept. Ketone reading was 2.5mmol/L. I did not weigh myself prior to the fast.


DAY 2 / Thursday

Morning: Went to bed last night at 10p-ish; read a bit about a bikepacking trip; slept ‘til 5:15a. Woke up feeling fine. Not great, but fine. Drank two cups of coffee, then #WaterAllDay. Read up on some fasting tactics this morning - interested to see how we get through this and what we want to do moving forward. Meeting at 12noon, so we’ll see how energy levels are for that. I’m otherwise staying at home these three days. (I work from home most of the time anyway, so not a big change for me) Also decided to forego working out or riding my bike (which is what I’d planned to do Thurs and Fri). Evening: Amber and I discussed a bunch around this approach today; think we’ll try some other things once through with this fast. Things like other versions of Intermittent Fasting, revolving around a ketogenic approach seems a good thing to test. Ketones: 5.0mmol/L. Whoa. I’m in it. Also did Glucose reading (strips showed up a day late): 2.7mmol/L (48.6 mg/dL) - for a GKI of 0.54. Ratio of 1:1 is optimal for therapeutic ketosis; I’m running nearly twice that. In a good way!


Went to bed at10p-ish. We’re married, so we have the same schedule for the most part :) I took a shower and read a bit before bed. I was so tired prior to going to bed; however, when it came time to sleep, I was wide awake. Did some sleep/meditation techniques and was able to begin to quiet my mind and rest. But, I felt like I was super-aware all night. Like I never got into a deep sleep. But I did dream. About going to a flea market and stopping by Bojangles’ for chicken strips and french fries. Which is super funny… because if you know me… you know I love chicken strips and french fries, but definitely not from Bojangles’. Anywho, I digress… I woke up this morning feeling fairly groggy and not super motivated to hop out of bed. I have been a bit dizzy and discombobulated. Water and salt have helped me to get through those feelings. Today, I don’t feel as dependent on the salt. I am also having herbal tea for “lunch.” Again, just need a different taste than water today. I don’t feel hungry, even sat through a lunch meeting with folks eating yummy sandwiches and salads from Rhino Market. Oddly enough, I was fine. The funny thing that I was hyper-aware of was everyone chewing and crunching. I am usually super aware of people smacking while eating their food, but today was 500 times worse with the chewing. I haven’t felt all that hungry today. Probably going to need a nap at some point. Eyes are pretty sleepy. Ketones: 3.9, Glucose: 4.3, GKI: 1.1, so doing well, but not in the "magical place" yet.


DAY 3 / Friday

Morning: Went to bed around 10:45p. Woke up around 5a. Not awesome sleep, but I feel pretty good. The very slightest, faintest tinge of a headache still looms. Perhaps a bit queasy and “loopy.” 72 hours ends in time for dinner tonight! Dinner will be bone broth to step out of this slowly and not cause any upsets. Morning (Hour 60) Ketones: 5.9, Glucose 3.3 (59.4 mg/dL), GKI: 0.56.

Evening: Went for a one mile trail walk with the dogs; I felt great; think Amber was a little tired. Overall, was feeling better in the afternoon than the morning; and I imagine this is what people refer to as the time they start forgetting about hunger and find mental clarity. We ate dinner at 6p (72 hours after beginning the fast Tuesday evening); dinner consisted of crackers, blackberries, blueberries, sauerkraut and bone broth. Didn’t measure calories or anything, just made it less than we’d typically eat. That dinner was  amazing; loved having a different taste (other than water and coffee), and I felt great, all-in-all. Maybe a slight bit gassy. Had a smoothie of coconut milk, almond butter, frozen berry mix and frozen acai a bit later, probably around 8:30p. Ending weight: 172 lbs (9 pounds lost)


Whoa… not a good night’s sleep, but I did feel energized this morning. I felt hyper-aware last night; dealing with a bad headache and  body aches. Slept in until 8a because I didn’t really go to sleep until 5am. Took my markers as soon as I woke up and WOW - Ketones: 7mmol/L Glucose: 3.8 mmol/L (68.4 mg/dL) GKI: .5 - woohoo! That’s why I wasn’t sleeping well, I guess.

My body composition has changed drastically in the past three days. No hunger this morning and food really is not top of mind. I was excited for coffee :) I did my first meditation on the fast towards the middle of the day. I was kind of all over the place, but also felt very grounding.



Breaking the fast

At 72 hours - almost on the nose - we broke our fast. Primarily because we had prior obligations on Saturday that we wanted to enjoy. On Friday evening, I was ready for food, but I could have easily gone another 24 hours. We started with bone broth, a mix of chicken and beef. A small amount of sauerkraut and berries. I tried to eat everything very slowly and not too much. Carter was craving saltines so we had a few - for me, this was not a good idea. Let’s just say it went right through me. I read up on several other breaking-a-fast blogs, and they recommend bone broth, then the sauerkraut, then the berries and maybe even some protein. But space them out (by 30-ish minutes). Don’t eat them all at once like I did. Carter was fine. He has a stomach of steel. After that we ate fairly typical meals, although they were on the lighter side. And inched back into protein.


DAY ONE / Saturday

Breakfast was a gluten-free waffle with butter, and a smoothie. (The smoothie was the same as above switching almond milk for coconut milk.) Lunch was a soup of mushroom, cauliflower, almond milk and bone broth. We’re eating dinner out to meet my uncle and aunt who are driving through town, so we’ll be looking for soft, cooked veggies or a salad… still deciding. Feel great today; slept for 10 hours (in a row - which is a big deal, ‘cause I don’t, typically sleep that well.) Also, notice difference in body composition. Lower legs & ankles lost inflammation, belly area quite different, face and neck “trimmed” up. Feeling  a lot more “solid” physically, and a lot more clear and focused mentally.


DAY TWO / Sunday

Feeling better. Woke up crazy early with a wild dream. Went to a CrossFit class at 11a, and I noticed a significant lack of strength and stamina. But that didn’t surprise me. It'll come back. I’d gained a couple pounds back. Again, not surprised. Otherwise, feeling pretty normal.



One of the biggest things I learned  from this experience was how much we think about food. It’s all over social media, television commercials, you name it… it’s literally everywhere. All the time. I think we lose that observation as it’s so ingrained in our culture. We also rely heavily on food to guide our days, timing-wise. And for pleasure. I’m not against delicious food and enjoying meals with loved ones. It just dawns on me, how much time we spend thinking about what to eat, where to shop, how to cook, who will clean up the kitchen after a meal. Even eating out produces serious conversation, thoughts and questions that take time to resolve. That time is mostly around dinner time when you’re trying to relax, decompress, give your brain a well-earned break.

When you’re not doing those things, there is an overabundance of time. Each night during the fast, Amber and I would stare at each other like, “OK, what do we do tonight?” Without having food to think about ALL the time, we were able to be very productive with work, enjoy other things, be quiet, have personal time. Even more so though, we were able to experience DOWN time which might be one of culture’s hottest commodities.



Food is fuel. I’ve been reminded of that. My intention is to take this momentum and continue a more ketogenic approach – including some intermittent fasting – and combine with the regular activities I dig (running, mountain biking and crossfit).


I have been eating “clean” for a long time. So, it was weird to come to the realization that I was not being mindful about my consumption. Discipline had gotten away from me quickly. I will be incorporating 3-5 day fasts as a once-a-month or every-other-month event. The biggest take away for me is that taking a monitored ketogenic approach to my daily nutrition is a good idea. At least for a little while. I’ve already nerded out and created a spreadsheet for tracking purposes. I love experiments. 


Wellness Mama / The water fast / What is the 3-day water fast

Purenootropics / How to survive a 3-day water fast

Global Healing Center / Health benefits of water fasting

Quantified Body / Results of 5-day water fast

Perfect Keto / Results of my 4-day fast to start a ketogenic diet

Perfect Keto / Water-fasting vs fast-mimicking

The Synchro Life / Profound benefits of fasting and autophagy

Josh Whilton / Autophagy

Nutritional Ketosis for Health / What is nutritional ketosis?

Keto Diet App / Measuring ketones

Keto Summit / Optimal ketone levels for ketogenic diet

Diet Doctor / Lose weight by achieving optimal ketosis

Heads Up Health / Tracking glucose ketone index

Dr Anthony Gustin / What is glucose ketone index? / Measuring ketosis

National Center for Biotechnology Information / Ketone monitoring and measurement of ketoacidosis

Comments | Posted in Nutrition By Carter Lewis

New Year's Resolution

There’s a great line at the end of Charles Dickens’ novella, A Christmas Carol, where the old miser Ebenezer Scrooge commits anew to keeping Christmas in his heart all year long.

What’s great about that commitment is just how much it’s a reflection of how connected he felt to the spirit of not only a fresh start, but also all that’s possible for his life moving forward.

Thinking about fresh starts and all that’s possible for our lives in a new year is one of the most fun things about January. We feverishly and excitedly set goals, intentions or resolutions. We’re ready to see them through all year long.

But, sticking with them day in and day out over the course of 365 days can be rough. We get distracted, busy or tired; and life happens. That’s why only 8% of the population actually achieves their goals.

So, how do we keep our yearly goals, intentions, or resolutions in our heart all year long?


A lot of us grew up with SMART goals training. (Or was that just me?) The idea is that before you really, truly commit to a goal, you run it through the SMART goal filter. SMART is an acronym that recommends goals be Smart, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely.

When you set your goals for 2019, run them through that SMART goal filter. Can you say ‘yes’ to each of those five criteria about each of your goals?

Remember – your goals should each be a good, strong blend of what is do-able and challenging. It should be within reason and realistic for you, your body, your mind, your life; but it should also push you appropriately.


Just like with a lot of new-fangled, exciting, much-anticipated things, we get really motivated by goals, especially fitness goals. We’re pushing hard the first several weeks to blow by both real and imagined milestones that we’ve set for ourselves. We’re making strides. We are DOING this.

Then, that work trip comes up; the ice storm happens; there’s that wedding weekend that’s taken, like, a week to recover from. And we lose momentum. It happens.

So, to compensate for it, we commit to checking in more frequently – maybe weekly, maybe daily. Now, that’s a heck of a thing to commit to for 365 days.

Consider changing that thought to checking in more appropriately for you. If checking in weekly is too much and quarterly check-ins are too far apart, how about a monthly check in? Or perhaps even twice a month – maybe every 15th and 30th? Whatever it is for you, set those check-ins now. Maybe even book them as a 15 or 20-minute appointment in your calendar now through the end of the year, so that they are non-negotiable, pre-scheduled. That frees up your brain to remember to check in, as well.  

The idea is this – new year goals, intentions and resolutions should be treated like marathon training versus sprint training. So as much as you might love and respect the momentum of fast wins at the beginning of the year, it might actually be thwarting your effort for long-term, sustainable success.

Here’s another way to think about it for yourself: check in more respectfully. What honors or respects you, your time, energy, attention or momentum? Set check-in appointments that respect you and this goal you’ve set for yourself.


A lot of times we measure success with numbers – times, weight, speed, levels. In that sense, success is data. And that works when you’re working hard to bring your times down or work faster racing the clock and hitting a certain number of reps.

What if you redefined success as that strategic balance between the data and the feeling?

Yes, you’re getting faster, and do you feel more energy - or do you feel completed depleted?

Yes, you’re lifting more weight now, and are you feeling stronger? Or are you in pain and icing yourself after every workout?  

Here are some fresh ways to redefine success as a feeling: Do you want to fall back in love with running? Do you want to have more energy to play with the kids this months versus last month?

Do you want to feel stronger this summer versus last summer? Do you want to get off that blood pressure medication?

We’re not going woo-woo here. We’re simply suggesting that perhaps success is the data – and the feeling that comes with the data. And that feeling should always be one of power, strength, courage and confidence.

And remember – your success is however you choose to define it this year.

When we look at the classic definition of the word ‘success’, we see some version of accomplishing an aim, purpose or goal. There’s always a finality to it. You experience success when you finish something.

But what if your goal success wasn’t something to be achieved – but was something to feel. What if success was a spirit to keep with you in your heart all year long?


So, how about this - is one of your goals to eat cleaner in the New Year? TGK wants to support you in feeling that success right off the bat. Get $19 off your first order by using the code "Resolution2019" at checkout.  


Comments | Posted in Nutrition By Meg Seitz

Stay on Track During the Holidays

Six Ways to Stay on Track During the Holidays

It’s… the holidays.

It’s funny how we reach this time in the year, and it feels like we’re all living on vacation in Vegas. It’s as though all bets are off, and anything goes. We indulge, we live, we stay up late with good people. Everyone is going a million miles an hour.

Then, suddenly it’s January 1. The lights come back on. We’re back to reality. And instead of feeling restored and refreshed, we feel like we need to start over.

The thing is, starting over is that implies we’ve royally screwed up. We’ve double-crossed ourselves and our promises to our health, wellness, and mindfulness.

There’s a way to do the holidays well –with just as much sparkle and glitz and good cheer.  

1. Be prepared with seasonal food and clean snacks. Look. You know it’s coming. Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa, Festivus and New Year’s Eve have happened (and will continue to happen) the same date, every single, year of your life. Yet, we all act like that moment in Airplane! when someone comes over the speaker and asks if anyone knows how to fly the plane. We’re panic-stricken, overly self-conscious, out to save ourselves.

So, be prepared. Stock your fridge with fresh, seasonal fruits or vegetables that you will be able to find at your grocery store or local farmers’ market this winter. Or make sure you have a bag of raw nuts or a package of jerky in your handbag; they’re easy, clean snacks you can enjoy before heading into that company party when you feel the slippery slope into carb loading.

2. Build in time for a good sweat. When we’re crunched for time (or energy), oftentimes the first thing that gets ditched from our calendars is a good sweat. We cancel our yoga class reservation via an app from the car or we ditch that after-work run to meet someone for cocktails.

This is a great opportunity to plan ahead - look at the next several weeks, and get strategic with your sweats. Is there a anxiety-inducing holiday dinner coming up? Book a yoga class for that morning.Feeling overly frustrated with the budget planning for 2018? Go for a run - even if it’s just 20 minutes - versus grabbing a cocktail after work.

It won’t take a lot. Aerobic exercise has the power to improve your mood when endorphins kick in, and that it only takes 20 minutes for natural neurotransmitters to start to exert their feel good effects, as Psychology Today reported.

We don’t need another reminder as to why exercise matters because we know it does. But in this context, physical activity has the power to give you more energy and improve your mood - two things that we’re always running short on during this season.

3. Respect your time - and energy. If you’re looking at your calendar, and you realize that you have something going on every weeknight for the next week or two, then something has got to change. Consider looking at those weeks and cutting out some plans to make room for the things you want to do.

Also, consider time blocking your personal life. You set aside an hour for that conference call every Monday morning, but have you blocked off every Monday evening for the next several weeks for that favorite yoga class? Don’t feel guilty for doing that. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

4. Indulge mindfully. There is absolutely nothing wrong with indulging. Enjoy your life. Treat yo’ self. Splurge. Just don’t go crazy. That’s it really.

If you need some guidance, commit to living by the 80/20 rule. Allow yourself some treats along the way, so that way you won’t overdo it when you see that cookie spread next to your table. When you hold yourself back, you’re more likely to lose it, so go 80/20.

5. Make smart, clean substitutes. There are certain holiday recipes that we love because you grew up helping grandma make it, you had a disastrous, yet legendary first run making it yourself or because it just somehow, some way ended up on every holiday table through your childhood. These foods bring back really good memories. A great example? Green bean casserole. Stay true to your roots - perhaps consider making some smart, clean substitutes. Here’s our take on how to make your green bean casserole with fresh and real ingredients. (Walk down memory lane included.)

Or try some new different approaches with these Christmas recipes from Paleo Flourish.

6. Product test your new year’s resolutions. It’s funny how we reach January 1, and everyone is suddenly meditating or crushing it at the gym or eating Paleo or committing to a Ketogenic diet. The thing about that is that you’re not even really sure you like any of that stuff – do you even like running sprints at that outdoor boot camp in 34 degree weather at 6:33am? Maybe. Maybe not.

So, use this month to product test your new year’s resolutions. Try to cook a couple of Paleo meals; try a yoga class once a week. Make an agreement with yourself to try some new things that work for your life this month, so when January 1 rolls around, you can be strategic about new commitments.

And hey – it’s the holiday season. It’s time to be present, be together, and be head over heels in love with our lives. That’s one of this world’s most beautiful gifts. 

Need help customizing your TGK subscription for your Holiday needs and plans? Find out how here or email us.


Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

Comments | Posted in Nutrition By Carter Lewis

Alan C.

Here's a testimonial from our good friend Alan C. Alan likes to keep a low profile, so he asked that we respect his privacy by not including a photo (which we can certainly understand). Make no mistake, Alan is a real person. Below are his real results. In his own (real) words.


I am 53-year old male and am physically fit, but I have never paid much attention to nutrition and healthy eating habits. In fact, I used my high metabolism and activity level to offset really bad eating habits. I ran almost every day, and I knew that I could add miles to burn more calories if I wanted to eat more or eat worse. My diet was primarily meats, starches and desserts.

After years of running and cardio training, I realized that while I was in very good cardiovascular condition, I was losing strength and flexibility. In July (2017), I started doing CrossFit 4-5 days a week and saw some immediate improvements in my strength and flexibility. I also noticed that many of the people I met through CrossFit were focused on their nutrition and healthy eating.

About this same time, The Good Kitchen re-branded itself (ed. from modPALEO) and I heard Amber explain the philosophy behind TGK’s menu and food sourcing. In September, I began to alter my eating habits to increase the amount of protein and vegetables and to reduce carbs and refined sugars. My goal aligned well with TGK’s meal selection so I decided to give it a try.

I was immediately impressed with the variety of meals, the fresh-cooked flavor, and the ease of preparation on my end. Having the nutrition labels available for review while I was ordering my meals also meant that I could select the meals that best met my goals. I was hooked immediately. Suddenly, my lunches at the office were healthy, balanced hot meals that were the envy of my coworkers — a dramatic improvement from the fast-food, drive-through selection I had been eating. Three eggs for breakfast, a lunch from TGK, and a protein shake or bar would keep me full until dinner. Another TGK meal for dinner and an evening snack, and I was set.

After about 5 weeks of eating TGK meals for most of my lunches and dinners, and doing CrossFit 4-5 times a week, I had lost 4 pounds of body weight, gained 4.5 pounds of muscle mass, and dropped my body fat from 21% to 15%. (My goal had been to get my body fat down to 18% - 19%, so I was really surprised when I got even better results.)

I couldn’t have done it without TGK. The menu had me trying some vegetables I wasn’t familiar with – and others I didn’t think I would like – and I enjoyed them all. The serving sizes are reasonable and keep me from eating too much. I am continuing with the TGK meals and CrossFit because I like the improvements in my health and how I feel. I just had to try the meals to realize how easy and delicious they are.

Comments | Posted in Nutrition By Carter Lewis
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